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It doesn’t exactly equate to a party girl lifestyle.

That won’t change in the future, either. I have goals, and goals require sacrifice and discipline. I’m just…tired. I don’t exactly regret not being wild during college, but a small part of me craves it after keeping myself locked down for my entire life.

Skinny dipping alone in the middle of the night is hardly the giant step forward, but I smile regardless and wade into the cool water.

I expected it to cool my anger and desire but swimming through the water without a stitch of clothing on only ramps it up higher. Here, in the darkness, I can admit that things aren’t working with Brad. He’s nice enough, if a bit selfish, and he hasn’t been a horrible boyfriend, but there’s no way we’re going to last long distance. I think he knows it, too, but neither of us is ready to pull the trigger on ending the relationship. Maybe that’s why he brought his friends here this weekend, a shield between us and our pending reality.

“No, that’s not acceptable.”

I freeze at the sound of a deep voice and accompanying footsteps. I know that voice. Those footsteps. It’s Mr. Jones, Brad’s dad.

Shit, shit, shit. I’m at the deep end, opposite the stairs and where I left the shirt. There’s absolutely no way I can make it there before he….

He walks around the corner of the house. Even in the low light, the sight of him takes my breath away. Brad is a handsome guy, but the years have carved his dad into something else entirely. Mr. Jones is in his late forties, I think? I’m honestly not sure. I just know that he’s got a body to rival his son’s, and the way the skin crinkles around his eyes when he smiles gives me flutters in places I’d rather not think about.

He’s obviously just come from some meeting or other. I don’t exactly know what he does for work, but he’s been out of the house most of the day and all evening for business stuff. When I asked Brad about it, he just shrugged and said his dad’s job is to make money multiply. Whatever that means.

“Fix it, Frank. I fucking mean it. There are no second chances.” The bite in his voice has my skin tingling. “Get it done by Monday. No excuses.” He takes the phone from his ear and taps the end call button.

I know the second he sees me because he stops short. “Neveah?”

“Um. Hi.” I wave a little. “I was just indulging in a midnight swim.”

“It’s three A.M.”

“A three A.M. swim,” I correct easily.

Mr. Jones takes several steps closer. He glances down at the shirt I left on the lounge chair and then at me. Which is right around the moment I realize he can clearly see that I’m naked. I’m practically spot-lit by the pool lights. “You forgot towels, Neveah.” A thread of censor in his tone, but it does nothing to drown out the heat lingering there. “You’re going to drip all over my living room.”

An answering heat flares to life inside me. I have every intention of staying silent and waiting for him to go inside, but apparently, my mouth has other ideas. “Could you get one for me?”

He narrows his eyes and slides his phone into the pocket of his slacks. Mr. Jones moves to the outdoor cabinet thing that seems to magically refill towels every time I open it. He jerks the door wide, pulls out one of the massive white towels, and crosses back to stand right at the stairs to the pool. He lets the towel open and holds it up, a challenge lighting up his blue eyes. “Where should I put it?”

“I’m done.”

I don’t know what possesses me to swim to the shallow end and walk out of the pool completely naked. It’s like all the stress and pressure from the last…well, my entire life, combines with the disappointment of this trip and combusts inside of me.

Mr. Jones holds perfectly still as I ascend the stairs, but I’m close enough now to see the way his gaze drinks me in, lingering on my breasts and pussy. My skin heats, but I manage to keep my tone perfectly casual as I take the towel. “Thanks.”

“No problem.” His voice has gone deep, and he doesn’t move as I wrap the towel around myself. “Neveah.”

“Yes, Mr. Jones?” I sound too breathless, but I can’t help it. He’s close enough that I catch his expensive cologne, and suddenly all the disappointment from having sex with Brad comes back a thousand-fold.

“Why are you out here all alone at this time of night?”

There are a thousand answers to that, all of them safe. But suddenly, I’m tired of being safe. I’m not brave enough to meet his gaze, though, as the truth spills from my lips. “I’m very angry at Brad.”